Alaska News Nightly: April 6, 2012

Individual news stories are posted under APRN News. You can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.
Polar Bears Show Signs of Mysterious Illness
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Biologists have found Polar Bears in the Beaufort Sea with hair loss and skin lesions. Those are the same symptoms that have sickened ice seals and walruses in the arctic since last summer and led the federal government to declare the incident an unusual mortality event. Scientists are just beginning an investigation into whether polar bears are suffering from the same thing.

Oil Companies Criticize Senate’s Tax Plan
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The Oil Industry today (Friday) was very critical of the Senate’s re-write of the state’s oil tax regime.  The bill now in the Finance Committee makes a structural change to the current profit-based tax system, replacing it with a tax on the oil’s gross value.   Studies by the committee show that the new tax is a reduction from the current plan although it is not as industry-friendly as the bill introduced by the Governor last year.

Assembly Chair Refuses Call for Outside Election Investigator
Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage Assembly Chair, Debbie Ossiander says it’s too early to appoint an outside investigator to look into the Anchorage ballot debacle. The ACLU of Alaska made the request for an outside investigator Thursday, after widespread ballot shortages reports that voters were turned away at the polls during Tuesday’s Municipal Election.

Controversial Parnell APOC Appointee Withdraws Name
Alexandra Gutierrez – KUCB – Unalaska
Governor Sean Parnell’s pick for the Alaska Public Offices Commission pulled his name from consideration yesterday because of disparaging remarks he had previously made about Alaska Natives.

Report Reveals Oil Tanker Incident in Cook Inlet
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
An oil tanker docked in icy waters at Nikiski had what investigators are calling a “near miss” when it was accidentally set adrift while loading oil from the Tesoro tank farm. KBBI’s Aaron Selbig reports on the January incident, which came to light last week following the release of an internal Tesoro investigation.

Coast Guard Sinks Ghost Ship
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska
The Coast Guard is watching for fuel and debris from a derelict Japanese fishing vessel it sank off the coast of Southeast Alaska on Thursday.
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